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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,330

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Some Sunday morning hero worship......in quotes:

Real Heros......

[font size="4"]Independent media can go to where the silence is and break the sound barrier, doing what the corporate networks refuse to do.[/font]
-- Amy Goodman

[font size="4"]“The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that's why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.” [/font]
-- Michelle Alexander

[font size="4"]We live in a fragmented society. We are ignorant of what is being done to us. We are diverted by the absurd and political theater. We are afraid of terrorism, of losing our job and of carrying out acts of dissent. We are politically demobilized and paralyzed. We do not question the state religion of patriotic virtue, the war on terror or the military and security state. We are herded like sheep through airports by Homeland Security and, once we get through the metal detectors and body scanners, spontaneously applaud our men and women in uniform. As we become more insecure and afraid, we become more anxious. We are driven by fiercer and fiercer competition. We yearn for stability and protection. This is the genius of all systems of totalitarianism. The citizen’s highest hope finally becomes to be secure and left alone.[/font]
-- Chris Hedges

[font size="4"]If Americans actually understood the structure of our taxes, they would not only become angry, they might also find our economic and political systems intolerable because they are the cause of our unjust tax codes ... We could revolutionize the financial conditions of every American city and town—solve all or most of its tax revenue problems—if the property tax system were simply extended from tangible property to also include intangible property. If you want some quick solutions to our nation's fiscal problems, that would be one. Even on the simple basis of fairness, how can we justify having a property tax system that exempts the intangible property owned mostly by the richest amongst us? What a prime example of the Occupy movement's central point about the economic injustice perpetrated by the 1 percent against the 99 percent. [/font]
-- Richard Wolff

[font size="4"]It's a form of tyranny. But, that's the whole point of corporatization - to try to remove the public from making decisions over their own fate, to limit the public arena, to control opinion, to make sure that the fundamental decisions that determine how the world is going to be run - which includes production, commerce, distribution, thought, social policy, foreign policy, everything - are not in the hands of the public, but rather in the hands of highly concentrated private power. In effect, tyranny unaccountable to the public.[/font]
-- Noam Chomsky

Professor Richard Wolff with Thom Hartmann: Is Another Economic Crisis Lurking on the Horizon?

Professor Richard Wolff: Global Capitalism: December 2014 Monthly Update

Chris Hedges: A Society of Captives (video)

Drug War a Pretense to Expand Transnational Capitalism Southward

from truthout:

Dawn Paley, a Canadian journalist, offers a transformative view of the US war on drugs in the Western Hemisphere (with the exclusion of Canada as a targeted nation because it is a neoliberal partner of the United States in exploitation). Her just-released book, Drug War Capitalism, is a sweeping, exhaustively detailed analysis that reveals the insidious actual goals of the US-led and funded militarization south of the border in the name of destroying drug cartels.


Mark Karlin: You state the so-called war on drugs is really a war on people. This is a key point in your exhaustively documented and cogently threaded book. Can you expand on that - and of course you are talking about a certain class and background of person: the indigenous and the poor south of the US Border?

Dawn Paley: There is excellent work being done in the US examining and resisting the impacts of the drug war, specifically when it comes to the mass incarceration of young people from communities of color on that pretext. Drug War Capitalism looks at how the drug war is deployed south of the US border, where the key mechanism for social control is the use of terror against the people/el pueblo/los pueblos. Some activists and writers use words like social cleansing to describe the impacts of drug war militarization and paramilitarization, and how both primarily target poor young men in urban and rural environments. The case of Ayotzinapa, with the disappearance of 43 students and the murder of three others (one of the disappeared students is now confirmed to have been murdered) by municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero, is just the latest example of how often the victims of the drug war come from marginalized - and often well organized - communities and groups.

In the US, many people have been turned into frightened puppets who support any action in the name of the war on terrorism, even when such military and police action has to do with the goal of expanding transnational business opportunities. How is this analogous to the use of the war on drugs as a cover for US military intervention in Mexico, Central America, Colombia and the rest of most of the Western Hemisphere, with the exclusion of Canada? After all, doesn't the US benefit by having a state of violence among the poor and socially marginal people keep them from considering populist political rebellion in these nations?

I’d like to approach this question a little differently, and ask instead why it is that the hundreds of thousands of people who mobilized throughout the United States against the unjust war in Iraq were able to make the connection between US invasions and oil extraction, and why it has been so difficult for folks to mobilize and make the same connections to resource extraction and capitalism in the case of the US-backed war on drugs in Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere.

Once we can start to make the connections between US-backed war agendas in the form of Plan Colombia or the Merida Initiative and the expansion of capitalism in Mexico and Colombia, a lot of things begin to make sense. In the immediate term, the militarization and the paramilitarization stemming from these plans to sow terror and strengthen the state repressive apparatus, which, as we are well aware, works to protect transnational capital, like mining companies or oil companies.


Perhaps the linchpin to your investigative reporting is that the war on drugs is a cover, in many ways, for the expropriation of land for excavation and fossil fuel companies - as well as the creation of secure manufacturing, assembly and marketing environments for other international corporations. I know that specific alliances of corruption are often difficult to ascertain when it comes to the so-called war on drugs, but how do paramilitary groups (sometimes drug cartels), the military and the police play a role in securing land and providing security for transnational corporations. As you point out, large corporations and their employees are rarely victims of violence in the nations that have been targeted for drug war capitalism.

Colombia provides us with the strongest examples of this: paramilitaries hired to kill union organizers, or companies like BP and Drummond using paramilitaries to ensure they had access to lands for mining and pipeline building. These cases are extensively documented by court cases which have led to settlements for victims. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/27981-drug-war-capitalism-expands-transnational-corporate-markets-and-profits

Ferguson Is Baghdad Is New York Is Kabul

from truthdig:

Ferguson Is Baghdad Is New York Is Kabul

Posted on Dec 11, 2014
By Sonali Kolhatkar

There is a pattern emerging in my Facebook feed this week. One group of friends has been posting stories of police brutality and protests accompanied by personal statements of outrage. Another group has been remarking on the disgusting revelations from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report and the need for accountability. There is little overlap between the two groups, and yet the common threads between the U.S.’ foreign and domestic policies are disturbingly uncanny.

Whether on the streets of Baghdad or Ferguson, soldiers and militarized police forces have historically enforced control, not law. Behind the prison walls of Guantanamo and Texas, some authorities have tortured and brutalized rather than interrogated. They have not protected nor served; they have attacked and killed. They have not gathered intelligence; they have violated people’s humanity.

I am an immigrant to the United States. The names of those killed and tortured in Iraq and Afghanistan invoke in my imagination people who look like me, people I could have known, who could be my family. In the faces of those killed and tortured in Ferguson and Los Angeles, I see my neighbors and friends, people I know and love and think of as family. These are not separate and distinct. The pain I feel while reading the CIA report is as strong as the grief that comes from perusing the images of unarmed people of color who have been killed by U.S. police. The U.S. tortures and imprisons people of color both at home and abroad.

Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color, in particular black men in the U.S., while detainees from the “war on terror” in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, have been almost entirely brown, Muslim men. Just as people of color, in particular black men, are disproportionately more likely to be killed domestically by police officers, U.S. soldiers have been deployed in poor countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where the nonwhite populations of Muslim men, women and children are victimized through shootings and raids. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/ferguson_is_baghdad_is_new_york_is_kabul_20141211

Detroit M-1 Rail: Moving Forward Together

David Sirota: Charter Schools May Be Re-Segregating America’s Education System

from In These Times:

Charter Schools May Be Re-Segregating America’s Education System
Charters’ defenders like to position themselves as 21st century civil rights activists. But a Delaware lawsuit alleges that charters are actually worsening racial inequality in the state.


Charter schools are often promoted as a tool to address educational inequities, but a potential precedent-setting legal case launched earlier this month says the opposite. In filings with the U.S. Department of Education, two Delaware nonprofit groups allege that some of the state's publicly funded, privately managed schools are actively resegregating the education system—and in a way that violates federal civil rights law.

The complaint, by the Delaware branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Community Legal Aid Society, cites data showing that more than three-quarters of Delaware's charter schools are “racially identifiable”—a term that describes schools whose demographics are substantially different from the surrounding community.

According to the complaint, “High-performing charter schools are almost entirely racially identifiable as white” while “low-income students and students with disabilities are disproportionately relegated to failing charter schools and charter schools that are racially identifiable as African-American or Hispanic.”

The groups are asking the Obama administration to take specific steps, including prohibiting subjective admissions policies for charter schools and barring extra fees for attending charter schools—factors they say discriminate against low-income, disabled and minority students.

Because the case is being filed with the federal government, these actions could have implications for school districts everywhere—and there is already plenty of data tying charter schools to segregation. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17441/charter_schools_may_actually_be_re_segregating_americas_school_system

Can a New "Progressive ALEC" Advance Effective Police Reform Through Municipal Governments?

Can a New "Progressive ALEC" Advance Effective Police Reform Through Municipal Governments?

Friday, 12 December 2014 10:52
By Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report

As the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) begins its expansion into local municipalities and counties with its new arm, the American City County Exchange (ACCE), another group is working to provide the progressive counter to ACCE - and one of its main policy goals for cities and counties across the United States is police reform.

Local Progress, a network of hundreds of local elected officials from around the nation, held a competing convention in New York City, hosted by Mayor Bill de Blasio only a day after ACCE's own winter conference. Local leaders shared ideas and experiences about progressive policies being advanced in municipalities around the country to promote sustainability, economic justice, strong public education, immigrant rights and affordable housing, among others.

Local Progress is led by a board of elected officials from cities including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Diego and San Francisco, among others, and by the staffs of SEIU International, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and the Public Leadership Institute.

Robin Kniech, a Local Progress board member and Denver City Council member, told Truthout the network is helpful because local elected officials don't have the same kinds of caucus opportunities that state and nationally elected officials have, but she cautioned the network isn't only for elected leaders. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/27964-can-a-new-progressive-alec-advance-effective-police-reform-through-municipal-governments

Convicted With No Evidence by an All-White Jury, Black Community Leader Faces Life in Prison

(Truthout) As reports escalate of police assaults and murder of unarmed black men for "suspected" crimes, a jury trial certainly sounds like welcome justice.

Not so for many in Michigan, where a 66-year-old black activist, Rev. Edward Pinkney, convicted of felony election fraud by an all-white jury, faces a life sentence, amid accusations of trumped-up charges and no direct evidence of wrongdoing.

When an all-white jury is chosen to try a prominent black community leader of an embattled, impoverished city with a 90 percent black population, when the powers that be have numerous reasons to want him discredited, and when the evidence is entirely lacking and the punishment is draconian, there is ample cause to suspect another egregious breach of justice, as blatant as refusing to indict the police who killed an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, and choked a father of six to death in Staten Island.

To be clear, there is nothing illegal about trying a black man with an all-white jury in the United States. In the 1986 Supreme Court ruling, Batson v. Kentucky, the court held that a defendant is not entitled to a jury containing or lacking members of any particular race. But in this case of activist, Reverend Edward Pinkney, his supporters believe it is equivalent to a white mob lynching an "upstart negro." .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27974-all-white-jury-convicts-black-community-leader-with-no-evidence-reverend-edward-pinkney-faces-life-in-prison

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